Filed under: Issue 22, Issue 22 Reviews | Tags: Clinging To A Scheme, radio dept., shoegaze, Sweden
Part of our Issue 22 coverage!
WE GIVE IT: 12/20 Watts
PREVIEW: CLICK here to visit The Radio Dept.‘s Myspace
Since their inception in 1995, The Radio Dept. have been known for having a slow release schedule. Their 15-year-old discography consists of just three full-lengths. If nothing else, the Swedish shoegazers can be described as patient. And with their latest effort, Clinging to a Scheme, that may be precisely the problem.
Clinging to a Scheme is a pristine example of over-perfection. Largely an effort that feels overwrought and overambitious, it took the band four years to make. The record unfortunately suffers from an acute sense of calculation.
Some listeners might appreciate this aspect of the record though. The tracks aren’t necessarily bad, but the album is devoid of any truly outstanding moments. Songs such as the opener, “Domestic Scene,” come and go quietly, following a formula that seems all to tried-and-tested in today’s indie scene.
Despite this, there are some moments on the album where the group hints at some semblance of originality and give the listener a fleeting hope of hearing something out of the ordinary. “David’s” instrumentation and intuitive ability to wed unconventional elements together exemplifies this. Nonetheless, the group’s droning, lazy sound dominates the record in a way that sometimes borders on monotony.
As the album closes with “You Stopped Making Sense,” there’s a sense of having gone nowhere throughout all 35 minutes of music. While that may be fine for diehard glazy-eyed shoegaze audiences, it’s hardly enough to satiate a casual listener’s appetite. The Radio Dept. leave this release with a product lacking in originality or inventiveness, a result that fans will surely find inexcusable considering the four years sunk into Clinging to a Scheme.
BY John Cassillo